Blockchain technology profoundly changes how businesses operate and are structured. Getting involved in blockchain may appear optional however, it’s more of a subtle necessity as every growing economy will eventually embrace this technology in the near future. Secure data transfer is something that we’ve all been looking forward to for a long period of time and it’s been a major challenge to which blockchain now provides a solution.
Thus, getting involved should not even be the point of discussion, as whether we take hold of this opportunity now or later, or maybe through consumer driven applications, it is most definite that adoption of blockchain is non-negotiable. At some point in time, you are definitely going to be very much involved in the technology or risk being among the modern-day primitives. Eventually, the blockchain will be so ingrained in everything that it will constitute our everyday living. The same could be said of the internet; it was difficult to figure out how the internet worked way back then, but now everyone just uses the internet.
What is Blockchain?
It is funny how the technology seems so complex, yet its name feels so simple; “blockchain”. At its most basic level, blockchain is literally just a chain of blocks, but not in the traditional sense of those words. When we use the words “block” and “chain” in this context, we are actually talking about digital information (block) stored in a public database (chain). “Blocks” on the blockchain are made up of digital pieces of information and they have three specific parts:
- Blocks store information about transactions like the date, time, and dollar amount of your most recent purchase from a friend.
- Blocks store information about who is participating in transactions. It would record your name along with that of your friend but instead of using your actual names, the block only records your purchase without any identifying information except a unique “digital signature” which is more like an alias/username.
- Blocks store information that distinguish them from other blocks. Much like you and I have names to distinguish us from one another, each block stores a unique code called a “hash” that allows us to tell it apart from every other block. Let’s say your friend (Bola) who you transacted with at first, is not online to sell the same item to you and moments later, you wanted to get something similar. You then decided to buy from Bolu this time. Even though the details of your new transaction would look nearly identical to your earlier purchase in terms of price and quantity, we can still easily identify which purchase came from Bola and Bolu not just using the time factor, but also because of their unique codes (Hash ID).
A single block on the blockchain can actually store up to 1 MB of data depending on the size of the transactions. This means that a single block can house a few thousand transactions (between you and Bola and even Bolu and many other friends of yours) under one roof.
What To Note About The Blockchain
When a block stores new data it is added to the blockchain. Blockchain, as its name suggests, consists of multiple blocks joined together. There are four things that will have to occur to validate a single block;
- A transaction must occur between two parties i.e. you and Bola.
- That transaction must be verified. Vetting data, just like in all other traditional systems is carried out to confirm the details of the purchase. It includes the transaction’s time, dollar amount, and participants. The only difference here is that this vetting is not carried out by any central authority but by a network of computers connected together like a union. This way transparency is promoted.
- That transaction must be stored in a block. After vetting, you are sure that the verdict is trustworthy because the computer is only capable of true or false statements. Think of it as a continuous assessment; if you pass, you get into a new class which is the block.
- That block must be given a hash. It’s like your certificate to show the successful completion of your continuous assessment. With this, the block is added to the chain of blocks. At this point, you relate it to a recent graduate who is ready to be deployed into the labour market.
When that new block is added to the blockchain, it becomes publicly available for anyone to view; even you. Just like when that graduate begins to walk around with a brown file, looking for work, everyone can easily tell that he is a job seeker. In our next article, we will define the kinds of blockchains that are available i.e. the Private and the Public blockchains as well as some examples of where they are implemented.
Blockchain- An Innovation For The Future
Sometimes, becoming obsolete is great for innovation but not great for the consumers of the innovation themselves. This, at some point in the not-too-far-away future, will be the tale of those who have chosen to shut their eyes to the blockchain technology. Predictions about world economies and businesses moving to blockchain-based infrastructures are already becoming a statement of fact with recent interests coming from China and Russia and others.
It is therefore very pertinent to stress the need to harness the decentralized opportunities made available by this technology. What better way to start than learning everything you need to know from Telos4Africa? We are a major promoter of Telos Foundation, one of the best blockchain protocols out there powered by block.one. In a bid to make learning and community building more personal, we are putting together the Telos4Africa Blockchain Podcast.
The podcast will be an educative series where we, together with hands-on industry experts in the economy, would seek to expose the African community to the basics of blockchain and cryptocurrency as a thriving industry in the world today. We will painstakingly answer all possible questions that may arise from any such conversations about the blockchain within the Telos4Africa community. It will bring to bear, the benefits of building on the fastest, highly scalable, cost effective and eco-friendly blockchain protocol on the planet.
Written By: Ben | Edited By: Mosun | Graphics By: DEE-Y